07 February 2007

What'cha Got Cookin'?


Several weeks ago I talked to my favorite coffee barista about getting some coffee grounds for dying fabric. I ended up with a gallon sized baggie of coffee that he usually throws away. He was more than happy to recycle it.

I first stitched two coffee filters together and put 3 cups of fresh finely ground coffee inside and stitched it closed. I ended up with a very large coffee bag reminiscent of a tea bag. I added it to Grandma Vera's green bean pot with 2 gallons of boiling water, turned the heat down and simmered for 5 minutes.

While that was simmering and subsequently cooling in a plastic dishpan, I prepared my fabric. I soaked 1 yard of a white fabric and 1 yard of an off-white fabric in a soda ash mixture for about 5 minutes, wrung the fabric out and placed in gallon sized baggies. (Gotta love those baggies!) I added some really strong coffee. This is not an exact science experiment.

After letting it batch for about 12 hours I rinsed and washed the fabric. Guess what? The off-white (maybe) changed color a tad. The white is now the color the off-white was before this little experiment.

So, I tried again. The fabric was scoured again and then put into the 'dye' bath. This time there were 4 homemade coffee bags that each contained 3 cups of finely ground espresso coffee and the bean pot contained only 1 gallon of water. The resultant mixtue was as thick as mud. I simmered the fabric for 30 minutes, removed it from the 'dye' bath and let it batch in a baggie for 24 hours. After washing it twice in the washing machine I ended up with what you see below. (I had to wash it twice because all those fine little coffee grounds didn't come out the first time.)

I think it's a pretty nice color, don't you?


  1. The color of coffee ice cream, which is as close as I come to coffee. I'm a tea drinker and a tea dyer.

  2. It looks so pretty. Almost the same color as the coffee I am drinking right now. I have heard of people dyeing their fabrics, but I didn't realize it was this complicated.

  3. Ooh . . . I like those colors. What did you do to your hand?

  4. Only a quilter would think of stitching coffee filters together *s*

    Something to ponder . . . Why is it when I spill coffee on my favorite t-shirt the spot is as permanent as India ink, but when I put coffee on fabric to make a dye it washes out before I can blink an eye?